Artist Carl Andre Dies at 88

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Artist Carl Andre Dies at 88

Carl Andre redefined the parameters of sculpture and poetry through his use of unaltered industrial materials and innovative approach to language. He created over two thousand sculptures and an equal number of poems throughout his almost seventy-year career, guided by a commitment to pure matter in lucid geometric arrangements.

Andre arrived in New York City in 1957 and began carving timbers in 1958, using a chisel or saw to create abstract pieces with geometric patterns. These early works recalled both the verticality and symmetry of Brancusi’s sculptures and the logic of the paintings of Frank Stella, whose studio Andre was sharing at the time. In 1960, Andre started his Elements series, using timbers of equal size in various configurations, marking the moment when he definitively abandoned the manipulation of materials. Turning to manufactured materials, Andre began making sculptures using brick, concrete, Styrofoam, magnets and acrylic, drawn to each for its particular form, shape, and texture and organizing his chosen materials in elegant geometric arrangements, often directly on the floor, in a move that would prove foundational. In the late 1960s Andre began using thin metal plates to create the rectangular checkerboard sculptures known as the Plains and Squares. In the 1970s, the scale of Andre’s work increased as he was invited to produce monumental works onsite in museums and public locations around the world. Andre’s sculpture is noted for its precise attention to form, volume and space, his commitment to rigorous simplicity, and his poetic use of materials and words. 

Carl Andre is survived by his wife, the artist Melissa L, Kretschmer and a sister, Carol.

Carl Andre was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1935. After his studies at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, he served in the army and traveled to Europe, then settled in New York City in 1957. While carrying out simultaneous investigations in art and poetry, Andre worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1960 and 1964, an inseparable experience from his evolution as a sculptor. Immediate acclaim followed his first solo exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, in 1965, and he participated in several landmark exhibitions of that decade, such as Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors, Jewish Museum, New York (1966), Documenta 4, Kassel, Germany (1968), and Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form—Works/Concepts/Processes/Situations/Information, Kunsthalle Bern (1969). In 1970 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, presented the first retrospective of his work. Alongside numerous public commissions and solo exhibitions, Carl Andre’s five-decade career includes large-scale surveys organized by the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin (1978, touring internationally through 1980), Krefeld Haus Lange/Haus Esters and Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Germany (1996), Musée Cantini, Marseille (1997), Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany (2011), and Dia: Beacon, 2014. A one-person exhibition, Carl Andre: Between Sculpture and Poetry, recently closed in South Korea at the Daegu Art Museum and will reopen at The Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Japan in March 2024. 

Andre’s work is in major public collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, along with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C. International collections include the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Tate Modern, London. 

Main Image :Carl Andre with Radial Arm Saw-Cut Sculptures, 1959-1960. © 2024 Carl Andre / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Hollis Frampton

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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